Born: October 25, 1932
Died: June 26, 2014
Robert Michael Mischak was born October 25, 1932 in Newark and grew up in Union. Bob was an excellent student. He was bright and inquisitive, always wanting to dig deeper on a subject or understand the complex ways things worked. He also was a tremendous all-around athlete. He was fast, smart and coachable regardless of the sport he played. He was also a natural leader.
Bob played fullback for Union High School and was the object of area recruiters, including Vince Lombardi, who was a member of Red Blaik’s coaching staff at the U.S. Military Academy. Bob thought a career in the military—and a chance to play for Army—sounded like a good deal, so off he went to West Point in 1950.
Coach Blaik admired Bob’s speed and soft hands, and switched him to tight end. He also played on the defensive line. Bob became a team leader during a dark era for Army, when a cheating scandal rocked the academy. As a senior in 1953, Bob made a play against 7th-ranked Duke at the Polo Grounds that saved 17–16 victory. He ran down Red Smith from behind in the open field—just before he crossed the goal line for the would-be winning score—after Smith broke free on a double-reverse. The video of the play is online and still jaw-dropping.
In the locker room, the players presented Blaik with the game ball. He refused it, pointed to Bob, and said, “It goes over there.”
Bob was selected by the Cleveland Browns with a late pick in the 1954 draft. They retained his rights while he